i’m dropping the “e” bomb.

economic. we are in an economic crisis here, friends. when i hear anyone talking about it, i have to admit, i get a little upset. poor economy. when you hear words like that, it brings down the morale of the entire country. it’s true. just overhearing a conversation about it is enough to scare the average american out of spending that extra 20 cents on the quality canned tomatoes, and end up buying instead the canned tomatoes with corn syrup and partially hydrogenated god knows what. i won’t have any part of that. i’m spending the 20 cents. not only because i can’t have corn syrup and partially hydrogenated whatever, but also because i just plain want to. i refuse to change my high standards of food quality because of 20 cents. no one, special diet or not, should have to eat that crap, and not spending my hard earned money on it is my way of silent protest. well, i guess it’s not that silent now, but you get my point. i won’t support it. aside from right now publicly doing so, i try not to participate in negative conversation like that, either. i really think the first step to getting out of this tight spot is to stop talking trash. who is going to stimulate the economy after they’ve just been scolded by the news reporter, or hearing that horrible story about the family down the street that just lost their home? it scares people. plus, it’s stressful.

now, i’m not about to say that if you aren’t buying organic, quality foods, for whatever reason, that you suck. different people prioritize different things in their lives. some people prefer to save up their money for a few drinks at the end of the week, or to go see a movie. some like to spend their few extra dollars on a nice dinner out every once in a while, or to buy a nice pair of shoes. some get their nails done, or need to take their cat to the vet. some need to go to the apple store and get an iphone. some people don’t have any extra at the end of the day, or even worse, can’t even afford that can of tomatoes. -it is important to mention here that this is a huge, horrible problem, one that is over my head. hunger is an issue that i am not worthy of discussing, and would like to deal with this post as a way to save a few bucks in a pinch, not criticize anyone for their food choices or economic situation.

i am in a situation where i prioritize the food i put into my body because my stomach can’t tolerate certain chemicals, and my husband’s body, because he’s stuck with whatever i cook. basically, i HAVE to make it a priority, and also, i enjoy doing so. i should just say that if you want to make it a priority, it is pretty manageable for the average person, with reasonable means, to get by on decent fresh foods.

that being said, i have many ways of penny pinching so that i can buy the fresh, quality foods that i believe in. my favorite way of saving money, is by eating simply. inexpensive, fresh, simple ingredients make the most amazing, easy meals. for example, i like to buy really nice quality pasta when it is on sale, because it doesn’t go bad. $1.99 for a box of pasta doesn’t seem like much when you realize that it’s generally 10 servings. that’s pretty doable. organic yellow summer squash, asparagus, mushrooms, $2.00 each? yep, it’s half a dollar more than “conventional” produce, but like i said, to me, it’s important. plus, 1  unit of produce generally yields 4 servings, at least. organic fat free feta cheese is $2.40, 10 servings.

so far we have spent over $10 on what appears to be one meal. but really, 10 servings of one meal.

here’s how you cook that one meal, in 2 servings.

boil 2 servings of pasta. meanwhile, salt, pepper, and steam 6 spears of (cut in half) asparagus, half the squash (cut into 1/2″ thick rounds). roast 6 mushrooms (cut in half or quarters) in a little squirt of olive oil, salt, and pepper at 500f for 5 minutes or until they are done to your liking. scoop cooked pasta onto 2 plates, split vegetables over the pasta, squeeze lemon juice over the pasta, and spoon a little feta cheese on top of the whole thing. viola! it’s freakin delish! seriously! need a little more? add a 4 oz fillet of wild caught salmon. roast it with a little rosemary. bake a little tofu with some italian seasonings on it. it’s pretty darn light and healthy, and it was like, $2.00. i always make extra so that i can have leftovers for lunch the next day. always. another way to save some money. lunch out costs no less than $6.oo! that’s crazy! and, this meal took me less than 10 minutes to make. 10 minutes! use the extra produce for another beautiful meal. those uncooked noodles will go a long way, too.

use the rest of the asparagus with your eggs in the morning.

roast some squash to put on a sandwich.

have some mushrooms on your salad tomorrow.

use those veggies up! no trashing them!

being frugal doesn’t mean you should buy crappy food. it really doesn’t. it means buy the food you want, within reason and with common sense, and utilize all of it. don’t waste. don’t throw it away. organic, conventional, free range, hormone free,.. whatever. this method works with anything. food going bad in the fridge? cook it. cook it and eat it for lunch tomorrow, or cook it and put it in the freezer. better yet, cook it and give it to brandon, because he loves when people bring him leftovers. just don’t let it spoil! it’s like a challenge.

got 2 bananas going bad? make banana bread. you already have all the ingredients, seriously. don’t feel like it right now? throw them in the freezer for when you do feel like it. they last months in there, people, months! maybe years! who knows?

jar of pears gonna get yucky tomorrow if you don’t do something about it? put ’em on a salad, or make muffins!

get creative. it’s no biggie. you can’t afford not to!

which brings me to my next problem. brian and i were “stimulating the economy” last week at whole foods when we saw these beautiful organic carrots on sale. “hooray! i love carrots, and they are super easy on my digestive system!” i say, “let’s buy ’em up!”. poor agreeable brian fell right into it.. “ok,” he said, “i’m sure we’ll eat 5 lbs of carrots before they go bad. they’re cheap.”.

we have 3 lbs of carrots left. they’re still pretty stiff, too.

which brings me to the solution: it’s carrot week here at the Hare house!

that’s right. i’m going to use the remaining 3 lbs of carrots somehow. it sounds easy, my friends. 2 hippies, 1 bag of carrots… dream world, right?

actually, yes. stay tuned for some carrot baked goods that will either knock your socks off, or make you think i’m not a very good cook and have lost my sense of taste. either way, we’re cookin’ these carrots!

here’s a little hint of what’s to come:

carrot muffinz!

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roasted carrots!

carrot cake cookies!

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